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Letter: OCSD returning for more in-person learning

March 23, 2021

Dear Oswego City School District Community,

Since the initial order for fully remote instruction a little more than a year ago, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every corner of the way we learn and instruct. We have found ways to successfully adapt and problem solve on the fly to allow for safe in-person learning, graduation exercises, extracurricular activities, student athletics and more.

Today I am thrilled to share with you that we are taking another exciting step forward by allowing more in-person learning.

Below are several important pieces of information I have to share with you. They are as follows:
  1. CDC Guidance - Recently, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) made changes to its guidance with regard to social distancing in school buildings. Specifically, the CDC is now allowing schools to bring back more students by using a 3-foot social distancing recommendation instead of 6 feet. Given this new guidance, schools districts, including the Oswego City School District, are now reviewing their social distancing protocols in an effort to return additional students to schools for more days of “in-person” learning. It should be noted that school districts are still awaiting guidance and regulations on social distancing from the New York State Department of Health. Once received, we will be implementing them with integrity.
     
  2. More “In-Person” Learning – With the new CDC changes and the anticipated changes to the NYS Department of Health regulations and guidance along with the need to better address the learning needs of our students, the district is now planning to bring more students, grades 2 and 3, back to school for additional days of “in-person” instruction (a total of four days; Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays) beginning April 5, 2021. 

    To add to this, we are also now planning to bring back all of the remaining grade levels (grades 4-12) for more “in-person” learning (a total of  four days; Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays) as well. Grades 4 -12 students will be able to return for more “in-person” learning beginning April 19, 2021.
     
  3. Reduction in Asynchronous Learning - The district will also be reducing asynchronous learning on Wednesdays.  Specifically, we are now planning to make Wednesdays synchronous – live half days of remote learning, beginning April 19, 2021.  Accordingly, students will receive live instruction from their classroom teachers for half of their day.  During the other half of the day, students will be asynchronous and will be receiving academic intervention supports, specialized educational services, small group and/or one-to-one instruction and social-emotional learning support for the rest of their day.
     
  4. More Instructional Time – To better meet the learning needs of our students and to ensure that we can transport them to and from schools, the district is anticipating that there will be an extension of the learning day for all students (both remote and in-person students).  Specifically, we are planning to extend the learning day by an additional hour each day -- beginning April 19, 2021. More details about schedules, including start and end times, will be shared with the community prior to the week of April 5, 2021; and lastly
     
  5. Virtual Learners – All parents who would like for their students to continue with 100% virtual/remote learning will be able to do so moving forward.
In anticipation of the changes listed above, please know that the district will be engaged in surveying our parents and/or guardians over the next couple of weeks. Accordingly, all parents and/or guardians will be asked to complete a survey that will be sent to their email addresses. This survey will assist the district with its planning efforts.

Please know, the district is looking forward to making all of the changes listed above. While these efforts may present some challenges, we look forward to resolving them and bringing our students back for more “in-person” learning.

Should any parents or guardians have any questions about the content of this letter, we ask that you reach out directly to your school building principal. Thank you for your time, patience and efforts in advance.

Yours in Education,
Mathis Calvin III, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools
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504 Coordinator, any complaint may also be referred to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), 32 Old Slip, 26th Floor, New York, NY 10005, telephone (646) 428-3800 (voice) or (800) 877-8339 (TTY).